I would have assumed that this would have disqualified him from running and that this would be nothing more than electoral fraud.
It doesn’t – at least not under the law.
What seems quite likely, or at least plausible, is that Adams may have lived in this Bed Stuy apartment once before moving in with his girlfriend, and that he left his apartment to his son afterwards. This is a perfectly reasonable and admirable thing to do as a father, because I’m sure he probably circumcises his son quite a bit, or maybe doesn’t blame him at all.
But I assumed it was election fraud because Adams and his team reacted to the story.
This is my biggest problem, and it is my ongoing problem with Eric Adams. I don’t care where he lives. It is important to me that he is honest, knows the law and wants to abide by it – and above all that his employees know that he has these expectations of them too.
His team could have said: “See, that’s the law. He is qualified under the law. He plans to keep his residence in Bed Stuy if he doesn’t win – it just so happened that his girlfriend had extra space while at the same time having the opportunity to be a good father, and he took advantage of it.”
That would literally have been the end of the story.
Instead, they pretended he had broken the law and went into full cover-up mode. Her first instinct was to flood the Zone with a bizarre series of questionable statements about changing unit numbers, typographical errors, and a whole thing about working late at night in the office – while allegedly living a 20-minute bike ride away.
This led to a Twitter spiral of refrigerator detectives, demands for EZ-Pass receipts and a bizarre press conference in front of garbage cans that culminated in a tearful admission that he had missed many of his son’s soccer games as a child.
I don’t know what that has to do with the proverbial price of bread.
His fatherhood was out of the question – his place of residence was.
At some point you have to question the culture that surrounds someone whose first instinct – and apparently it is – is to cover up the truth, even if, it turns out, they are doing nothing wrong.
Imagine if he had said this:
“We believe the district president met the residency requirements, but we asked the electoral committee to confirm. Should it turn out that he does not meet the requirements and that he has to move his son out of his apartment and live there full-time again, he will in all likelihood withdraw from the race because the family comes first. “
He would have sealed the race. His ethics would have been undisputed. A willingness to risk everything for a review by the competent authority would send a fantastic signal.
At what point do you wonder why that wasn’t your instinct?
You have to assume this isn’t new to Eric Adams – getting caught bending over or breaking the rules. Early in his career when he was caught taking campaign money from a gambling company, state investigators released a damning 308-page report stating that Adams displayed “extraordinarily poor judgment” by attending a victory ceremony with the Donors participated when the first choice was made.
Adams immediately went into cover-up mode and made “unbelievable statements” to authorities on the matter.
Years later, Adams solicited donations from powerful real estate prospects for a nonprofit to help Brooklyn, exposing a significant loophole in the city’s monetary and influence laws. While he didn’t necessarily get in trouble because of it, he got in trouble when it was found that he and his team had failed to take the first step in using a nonprofit to get around the rules.
You didn’t start the non-profit organization.
Yes, that is the other thing that he and his team lack – competence. If you want to blur the lines between charity and buying political influence, at least you can go to the trouble of starting the charity. It is the same incompetence that makes the residence problem so confusing.
Not only did his staff go to the bother of checking what the requirements for running were and what rules to follow – they couldn’t even bother to check the statutes after the allegations were made.
They decided it was more important to cover it up than to find out if they had actually done something wrong.
Are we not fed up with politicians for whom the extent of their wrongdoing is only matched by the extent of their incompetence?
Corporate culture does not only consist of team excursions, table tennis tables or models. It’s about a direction everyone moves when there isn’t a written rule for something or when the next step is unclear.
There are many leaders who have created cultures where the people who worked for them wouldn’t dare cover up such a thing. Could you imagine working on a nonprofit with Jimmy Carter in the room and saying, “You know, Mr. President, I think we can get away with this, so why don’t we just brush this under the rug?”
It just wasn’t going to happen.
Obviously, it happens within the circle of Eric Adams.
What I can’t figure out is if they just think that rules generally don’t apply to him and they think we’re stupid, or if they are so incompetent that they don’t really know the rules. The idea that we should believe that his primary residence is his son’s apartment – that’s absurd.
But it’s nowhere near as important as thinking that this will be the same team tasked with handling difficult press conferences where a cop does something he shouldn’t or an accounting scandal they inherited comes to light . It is the same organizational culture that will be responsible for approving new developments for some very wealthy funders at the expense of neighborhoods and lower-income residents.
Is this worthy of the City Hall’s culture of ethics?
New Yorkers need to hold their candidates to a higher standard. We deserve better than having a bridge sold.